"The Shabbat shouldn't become a national day of shopping. Malls and shopping centers should remain closed on that day," Israel Prize laureate author Amos Oz stated during a conference in Caesarea this weekend.
Oz spoke at a conference organized by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tzohar Rabbis organization that was dedicated to discussing and formulating understandings between religious and secular Israelis on state and religion issues, most notably the matters of Shabbat and conversions.
Israeli mall. Open on Shabbat (Photo: Meir Fartush)
Oz, who opened the session on "The Israeli Shabbat," started by describing what the Shabbat was like in his kibbutz, Hulda, when he was growing up. "We didn't have a synagogue, but we had a spiritual Shabbat, which has almost entirely disappeared from today's secular Israel.
"The Israeli Shabbat nowadays is either a religious one in synagogues or spent in shopping centers. I regret that," the writer stated.
According to Oz, "Shabbat is the most beautiful gift that the culture of Israel has given the world. It is a different day dedicated not only to rest but mainly to spiritual and familial exultation. I hope that this gift will continue to accompany us always."
However, Oz called to allow public transportation on Shabbat, saying that there shouldn't be discrimination between those who own a car and those who don’t.